GHOSTS OF YIN-JIN
STILL WATERS ALLIANCE
The Still Waters Alliance is made up primarily of the Qiu clans that live on the Grey Steppe and the mysterious matriarchal clans of the Dongren of Chaofeng. Both seek to preserve their traditions and heritage in an ever changing land. While most of the power seems to rest in the hands of the Qiu horsemen, the “winter-wives” (Dongren maidens married to Qiu clan leaders) have surprising influence. While sparsely represented in the south, they have powerful influence in the north. They take their name from the fact that most water is ice for them but for a short summer. While they are a relatively new sect, only born at the end of the Autumn Dynasty, they have grown to be the second largest sect after the Yellow Earth. While they were largely ignored by the wulin at first, no one can ignore them now. For the time being their power seems largely unfocused, but should a cause arise- any who oppose them have much to fear.
: A powerful horseman or hunter on the lonely step, he may seem unrefined, but his culture is rich and precious to him.
: Winter Dynasty
: The Scarred Maiden. The architect of this alliance is a winter maiden born with unsurpassed beauty, greater than even the most beautiful Chun bride. She was married off to the powerful but arrogant Duke of Chaofeng. She was little more than a trophy to him, to be displayed and largely ignored, save in the bedroom. His own eyes wandered often, and he shard his bed with many others. She began to grow lonely so far from her people, and in a strange land. She struck up a friendship with a visiting Qiu knight that grew into something more. She was betrayed by one of the dukes other bedmates, who hoped to eliminate her and elevate herself in the dukes court. The duke was furious, he had the knight drawn and quartered while he had his wife whipped almost to death, and then took a knife with his own hand and ruined her lovely face. He cast her out into the wilderness where he expected her to die. She did not die, but rather the seed of vengeance burned deep within her. She went to the clan of her lost lover and told the story of what the duke had done. They were furious but too small to do anything about it. So next she went to neighboring horse clans, many of which chaffed at their status as second hand citizens to those who lived in the eight cities. From clan to clan she went, stoking their resentment into a bonfire of anger. Lastly she went to the matriarch of her own people, and showed them what had been done to her. When the Qiu amassed outside the city, the duke was still confident his defenses would hold, until the Dongren in his own army open the gates for them. The Duke was drawn and quartered, the maid who betrayed her was similiarly scarred and sold to the lowliest of brothels, the matriarch of the Dongren was declared the new duke, and the Scarred Maiden vanished.
: Each of the Qiu clans has its own headmen who together elect a Khan of the Grey Steppe from among them. The winter-wives have a tradition that they depart every fifth winter for Chaofeng, and do not return until spring, They do not speak of what happens there.
: There is no true headquarters for the Still Waters Alliance, but at midsummer all the clans converge outside Chaofeng and the clan heads and the khan meet at an inn there they simply call “the Lodge”.
: The Autumn Spear, which was the symbol of Qiu leadership, is still embedded in the dragon skull at the ruined Yellow Gates. No hero has ever been able to free it. When the alliance was struck between the Qiu and Dong, the matriarch gifted the khan with the Winter Saber. Each khan since then has wielded it.
: Loyalty & Force
: Blood Brothers. The bond between clansmen is strong and enduring, many become “Anda” or blood brothers after surviving a battle or ordeal together. A member of the alliance may spend joss to summon one such blood brother to aid them. A blood brother (or sister) will be one rank lower and aid the character for a number of scenes equal to the amount of joss spent.
: The Still Water Alliance has learned to survive on the harsh Grey Steppe. A member of the alliance may choose a free specialization in either survival or ride.
: Frozen Heart (Ice Sutra)
- Three Furies Oath (Storm Gods Fury)
White North Wind.
If you’re in the Three Furies Oath stance and use any Ice Sutra technique that lets you use the Freeze effect, you have a +5 bonus to that check.
- Infinite Brush Strokes (Divine Pattern Long Strokes)
Plains-Scouring Blizzard Lance
If you’re in the Infinite Brush Strokes stance and use Ice Cracking the Willow, that technique also gives a +5 bonus to Damage and if you’re in the Infinite Brush Strokes stance and use Frozen Shadow, the technique also imposes a -5 penalty to Damage. This penalty is not increased by the technique’s boost.
- Old Plough Hand (Blossom Harvest)
Mountain’s Frozen Heart.
If you’re in the Old Plough Hand stance and employ any Ice Sutra technique that lets you use the Freeze effect, any Rippling rolls you make as a result of the Freeze effect receive a +5 bonus. This bonus is granted by this Loresheet Secret, so it stacks with Kung Fu.
: Born in the Saddle. Any weapon wielded from horseback automatically gains the massive tag.